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2000 AD => General => : JayzusB.Christ 08 April, 2021, 11:10:26 AM

: Artists at their best
: JayzusB.Christ 08 April, 2021, 11:10:26 AM
Just having a re-read of some old progs (spurred on by Conrad and Fox's podcast - thanks, guys).  I was thinking then about the stories that showed artists doing their best work ever.  Here's a few that sprung to mind:

Steve Yeowell - Zenith Phase 3.  I loved all those crisp straight lines and stark blacks and whites.  Also he'd got rid of that square jaw thing of the earliest phases and his characters looked more human.

Colin McNeil - Song of the Surfer.  Now, obviously he was brilliant on America, but nobody does getting shot to bits like Colin, and that's what SotS was all about. 

Carlos - It's a tough one to call. Colour, I'd say Necropolis - all those gouache purples were just perfect for the murk of the DJ-run city.  Black and white, maybe Strontium Dog - Rage, when he really got Johnny's look and the dusty Wild West style down to a T.

Glenn Fabry - Sláine the King (and the Miniseries).  Obviously his colour work on Demon Killer was amazing, but his B/W stuff on Sláine's home turf was spectacular.

Mike McMahon - Sky Chariots, because of course it's Sky Chariots.

Kevin Walker - Dredd in Sin City.  His new style at its absolute best.

John Hicklenton - Nemesis in Deathbringer.  He'd really refined that muscular, dripping-with-filthy-detail style by then.

Kev O'Neill - Classic Nemesis; around the celebrated Great Uncle Baal scenes.

Henry Flint - A toss-up between his take on Nemesis; the first time I realised he was truly an artist to be reckoned with; and Dredd in Total War; when I realised he was a Dredd artist to be reckoned with too.

Belardinelli - It's going to be Sláine again, specifically The Wicker Man.

Ron Smith - that's a hard one.  The Daily Star Dredds maybe?  Other than that it's the Otto Sump stories, the Fatties stories or the one about the immigrant kid with pyrokinetic powers. Anything that shows off ugly cits and zitty teenagers, basically.

That's all I can think of now, but of course more will follow.


: Re: Artists at their best
: IndigoPrime 08 April, 2021, 12:14:17 PM
On a couple of those, I dearly wish there was a version of Zenith Phase IV in B+W rather than colour. Gina Hart makes a good go of it, but I’d much have preferred that in the style of the previous phases (and for the interludes to be Yeowell-illustrated. God knows who thought it’d be a good idea to throw Maximan Carmona’s way, and although Jim McCarthy’s Mandala worked pretty well, matching that artist’s sensibilities, I’d have much preferred it be Yeowell guiding the entire strip.

As for Ezquerra, I have a real soft spot for that era of his colouring. That simple style really captured a sense of neon nightmare that few other artists have matched in colour—including Ezquerra himself later on. His Dredd and Anderson work from that period looks superb. (The only other colour strip that matches it for me is She-Devils in the 1988 annual, by Brendan McCarthy/Tony Wright/Brett Ewins.)

Inspired by the original post, I started trying to think of some other artists whose work shone during particular eras. I initially figured D’Israeli’s Leviathan, which was a masterpiece. but so too were big chunks of Scarlet Traces, all of XTNCT and the entirety of the under-rated Ordinary.

Simon Bisley for me shone in ABC Warriors but dialled it up a notch for specifically the first volume of Horned God. It redefined what comics could be and still stands up today. You can see areas where he ran out of time, but those simpler pages still have a beautiful quality to them. By the third volume, though, either the style has changed or his interests level has, and I’ve never clicked to the same level with anything he’s done since.

Will Simpson has done a lot of solid Dredd work, but War Machine really brings home the hell of war, in a manner few 2000 AD strips had conveyed in linework. It was grimy and yet had spots of beauty among the horror. It’s such a pity that the foundation he and Gibbons created was immediately tossed away for something far inferior in every sense.

Mark Harrison is an odd one, because it’s the first artist where I don’t feel compelled to go backwards. Some of his earlier work was overly effects-laden and indistinct. It wasn’t bad, per se, but I much prefer his more modern and looser style, and The Out is so far the pinnacle of that.

Any more for any more?
: Re: Artists at their best
: JayzusB.Christ 08 April, 2021, 12:51:46 PM
Agreed on Will Simpson (The War Machine). 

Bisley - I'd go with most of the second half of The Horned God Book 1, when he'd got Sláine's look down properly, and the second book.  You're right in saying his interest level dropped in Book 3 - I've heard him say so in an interview; he was working on other things at the same time.

Brett Ewins - has to be the first Bad Company.

Brendan McCarthy - I was thinking She-Devils too, but I hadn't known there were so many artists working on it with him.  That or Sooner or Later, of course, which was as McCarthy as it could possibly get.

Sean Philips - I was thinking Armitage; where he totally nailed the mix of the future technophile sleazy Brit-Cit and the traditional grimy boozers, government buildings etc.  But then I remembered Swimming in Blood, where he was simply the only man for the job.
: Re: Artists at their best
: Magnetica 08 April, 2021, 02:22:04 PM
Here are my choices:

Steve Yeowell - Zenith Phase 1. Especially the first episode.

Colin McNeil - Mechanismo series 1, America series 1, Insurrection series 1 and 2.

Carlos-  too many to choose. Off the top of my head, Starlord era Strontium Dog, early black and white 2000AD Stront, Stainless Steel Rat.

Glenn Fabry - Slaine the King, especially the first episode.

Mike McMahon - Judge Child, numerous Dredd shorts just after that.

Kevin Walker - Khronicles of Chaos.

John Hicklenton - Hellbringer

Kev O'Neill - Nemesis Books I and III.

Henry Flint - Day of Chaos.

Belardinelli - Meltdown Man

Ron Smith - too many to choose. Judge Child, numerous shorter Dredds such as Otto Sump, Citizen Snork, Daily Dredds.

Others worthy of mention:

Brian Bolland - Judge De’ath Lives, The Cursed Earth, The Judge Child.

Ben Willsher- Day of Chaos

: Re: Artists at their best
: dossa1uk 08 April, 2021, 02:31:23 PM
Like minds!

I couldn't agree more regarding Zenith phase 3 - Yeowell is an exquisite draughtsman, precise and considered, but on Zenith, and, in particular, phase 3, there's real energy and drama in those pages, as he starts flinging blacks around, and roughening the edges.  I absolutely love it.

And at the risk of veering hipsterwards, I think I might just prefer The Black Hole over the Horned God (as a piece)...(though, this is not a position that might stand up to much argument...)

I read She-Devils again just yesterday - one of my favourite versions of MC-1 as a "real" place.  Grubby, neon and dangerous.  The colours are fantastic.
: Re: Artists at their best
: Tjm86 08 April, 2021, 04:13:25 PM

Black and white, maybe Strontium Dog - Rage, when he really got Johnny's look and the dusty Wild West style down to a T.


See for my money the very earliest Strontium Dog stuff was some of his best work on the title.  The Starlord work in particular seems to be more intricately crafted to my mind. 

The Western elements of the title are far more pronounced.  Certainly it comes back to it so much on Rage compared to some of the tales that ran before it.

Plus you just have to love those double page spreads and the insanity of Journey into Hell.

I would have to say other than the minor blip when he started exploring computer colouring there is a degree of consistency to his work that few artists can match.

Opening up to other artists ..

Cam Kennedy ... his VC's work, so much of his Rogue Trooper work, his Dredd work ... Tough call.  Arguably the work he did on the second Chopper strip and the plethora of Dredd's he did around that time are amongst his strongest. 

... and Colin Wilson?  His technological perfectionism gave a level of realism to Rogue Trooper that matched Gibbon's early, formative work.  The Traitor General cover of one of the earliest strips is one of my personal all-time favourites.  The Dix-1 offensive work .... superlative.

Worth remembering the plethora of talent we've been privileged to admire over the last four or so decades (f***!)  :o

: Re: Artists at their best
: abelardsnazz 08 April, 2021, 05:05:22 PM
Ian Gibson - Halo Jones Book 3. On this Gibson's work seems to have much more depth than on Robo-Hunter and Dredd - not that there's anything wrong with his work on those but the quality of his work on HJ3 is particularly memorable for me.

Brett Ewins - I really like his early work on Rogue Trooper - The Vid-Vultures, Major Magnam etc.

Bryan Talbot - Nemesis Book 4 - perfect style for the Gothic Empire.

Mention of Simon Bisley's work on The Black Hole made me think of SMS - his only work for Tooth was the other half of that story and for my money is just as good - the detail is simply stunning.

John Ridgway - The Dead Man.

D'Israeli - Scarlet Traces.

Steve Dillon - his City of the Damned episodes are particularly memorable.
: Re: Artists at their best
: The Corinthian 08 April, 2021, 05:30:24 PM
Surely Luke Kirby is the definitive John Ridgway strip?
: Re: Artists at their best
: Mister Pops 08 April, 2021, 05:31:14 PM
Every time I look at a page of Shakara, I can just tell Henry Flint was having a great deal of fun drawing all those weird aliens, cool spaceships and crazy weapons.
: Re: Artists at their best
: JayzusB.Christ 08 April, 2021, 07:33:23 PM
For me, although Cam Kennedy was consistently great, his best stuff was Sunday Night Fever and his biography, the first Kenny Who? story.

Totally agree about Ian Gibson on Halo Jones book 3, and John Ridgeway on Summer Magic (though it's hard to imagine an artist more suited to The Dead Man either).
: Re: Artists at their best
: Tjm86 08 April, 2021, 07:56:21 PM
I'd go with Kirby as some of Ridgeway's best works well.  It feels like something he is so heavily invested in.  Talbot on the Gothic Empire really makes sense when you turn to Luther Arkwright. 

As for Dillon, his Dredd work always feels like some of his best to me.  I feel like a stuck record on "Alone in a crowd" but when you take a look at the rest of his stuff ... Werewolves, Orlok, the Undercity, ... and yes, City of the Damned ... then look at his Punisher stuff, it's just not in the same league.

Little surprised that Gibbons hasn't had a mention yet.  His early Rogue stuff?  The Dan Dare Space Ark?  Hey, the last Dare series might have been absolute pants in terms of script but you can't fault his artwork, surely? 

Talking of Henry Flint on Shakara, surely we have to mention Alan Davies?  That courtroom scene in D.R. & Quinch?  Harry Twenty?

Bagwell?  Cradlegrave is something else, then we've got his Indigo prime stuff ... and we're back to bonkers alien scenes.

Coleby's work on Jaegir has been absolutely sublime.  A perfect match to the story that has reinvigorated a rather tarnished 'franchise' (if we can call it that ...)
: Re: Artists at their best
: The Mind of Wolfie Smith 08 April, 2021, 11:33:02 PM
belardinelli - blackhawk

perfection
: Re: Artists at their best
: Dandontdare 09 April, 2021, 12:28:41 AM
If you want one epic that had Dredd's classic artists all at the absolute peak of their powers, I'd say The Judge Child - we had Bolland's Jigsaw Man, Smith's Filmore Faro, McMahon's Angel Gang and Ezquerra's Murd the Oppressor.
: Re: Artists at their best
: Funt Solo 09 April, 2021, 02:36:37 AM
(https://farm4.static.flickr.com/3161/2809899377_39580244d4.jpg)
: Re: Artists at their best
: Magnetica 09 April, 2021, 07:44:06 AM
If you want one epic that had Dredd's classic artists all at the absolute peak of their powers, I'd say The Judge Child - we had Bolland's Jigsaw Man, Smith's Filmore Faro, McMahon's Angel Gang and Ezquerra's Murd the Oppressor.

Ezquerra didn’t draw Murd during the Judge Child - that was McMahon. You are probably thinking of a later story when a bunch of old foes revisit Dredd that was drawn by Carlos.
: Re: Artists at their best
: TordelBack 09 April, 2021, 08:56:25 AM
Surely Luke Kirby is the definitive John Ridgway strip?

Re-reading this last night, completely agree, my gods it's beyond incredible. The B&W first series in particular, but the genius of his smoky colour work is a wonder to behold. On that score,  I'm going to offer up Alzheimer's Block as a close second. From the early days of full colour Dredds it stands out as a masterclass in what can be done, as well as delivering a deeply affecting story from what could have been thin pastiche. Not the best of the pages,  but the only one I could readily snag (via Frank Plowright).

(https://theslingsandarrows.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Complete-Case-Files-12-int.jpg)


: Re: Artists at their best
: Link Prime 09 April, 2021, 09:30:49 AM
Paul Marshall on Firekind, and his early work on Tyranny Rex.
Never better.
: Re: Artists at their best
: Dandontdare 09 April, 2021, 09:58:14 AM
If you want one epic that had Dredd's classic artists all at the absolute peak of their powers, I'd say The Judge Child - we had Bolland's Jigsaw Man, Smith's Filmore Faro, McMahon's Angel Gang and Ezquerra's Murd the Oppressor.

Ezquerra didn’t draw Murd during the Judge Child - that was McMahon. You are probably thinking of a later story when a bunch of old foes revisit Dredd that was drawn by Carlos.

I typed that and was drifting off to sleep and thought "hang on .. that wasn't Carlos at all"   :lol:

Still think judge Child has some stonking art though!
: Re: Artists at their best
: JayzusB.Christ 09 April, 2021, 10:59:22 AM
Paul Marshall on Firekind
Never better.

That was one I'd thought of too.  Perfection. 

On another John Smith-related note, for me Killing Time is my favourite Chris Weston work.  I know he's improved technically since then, but that strip was just made for his artwork of the time; all blood and guts and twisting flesh-shapes.
: Re: Artists at their best
: TordelBack 09 April, 2021, 12:11:05 PM
Killing Time is magic, but I've a soft spot for Crazy Barry and Little Mo. Weston is a curious one because, like Talbot, I feel his very best work lies outside the Prog (Ministry of Space and The Twelve). Can't say that about many droids (D'Israeli?).
: Re: Artists at their best
: Uztarroz 09 April, 2021, 01:25:12 PM
Regarding Bisley, the more I look the more I find his black & white run on ABC to be stunning: He's firing on sight at everytone, taking no prisoners and letting everyone knows that he's here. He's taking chances, doing some crazy stuff...

He's still putting some details that he would later abandon... Absolutely stunning...

By the way, I have his run on the Fleetway ABC Warriors book 3 & 4, I have his Slaine color work and his Dredd ones, has he done anything else for 2000 AD or anyone else around that period?

Does anyone knows how to find some of his work before 2000 AD? Cannot find anything on the interwebs...
: Re: Artists at their best
: Jim_Campbell 09 April, 2021, 01:56:46 PM
Does anyone knows how to find some of his work before 2000 AD? Cannot find anything on the interwebs...

I may be misremembering, but I think ABC Warriors was pretty much Bisley's first comics work.
: Re: Artists at their best
: broodblik 09 April, 2021, 02:20:15 PM
Bisley's first work was on ABC Warriors The Black Hole in prog 555-566 and 573-581. The art duties on the series was shared with S.M.S
: Re: Artists at their best
: BPP 09 April, 2021, 03:46:19 PM
Here are my choices:
Kevin Walker - Khronicles of Chaos.


Kev Walkers minimalist style in The Connection was his best, the rain soaked murky tale suited so well. I could have done with another 100 pages of that.
: Re: Artists at their best
: Jim_Campbell 09 April, 2021, 03:56:49 PM
Kev Walkers minimalist style in The Connection was his best, the rain soaked murky tale suited so well.

I remember trying (and failing) to fathom the alchemy that was going on in the early episodes of Mandroid, with Walker's moody, smog-shrouded minimalism and Wagner's terse script combining to make episodes that somehow felt longer than their scant six pages.

Great as Satan's Island is, Mandroid left me feeling that a year or two of Kev as a properly-regular Dredd artist would have given us a version of MC-1 that felt as definitive as, say, Cam Kennedy's. (See also, Jock on that score.)
: Re: Artists at their best
: BPP 09 April, 2021, 08:48:36 PM
Would love to see Kev back with a suitable script - I think Rob Williams terse angry old Dredd is totally his ballpark.
: Re: Artists at their best
: JayzusB.Christ 11 April, 2021, 12:02:01 PM
Some of the slightly less prominent artists here...

Rian Hughes - like the story or not (I kind of did), but Really and Truly.  That or Dare, even though that wasn't in the prog.  He did a great job on Robohunter, but as always with Robohunter, I'm thinking 'well, it's not Ian Gibson, but...'.

Simon Harrison - Revere Books 1 and 2, I think.  Book 3 was a bit too smooth and refined; Book 2 still looked rough and raw, which was how I liked his art.  A few pages from Strontium Dog too, if we're talking black and white; particularly those that showed Feral on his home turf of Milton Keynes.

Shaky Kane - Judge Planet maybe? The weirdness suited his art well.

 

: Re: Artists at their best
: Richard 11 April, 2021, 02:43:57 PM
Many of these suggestions are from decades ago. We have Tom Foster right now.
: Re: Artists at their best
: Dog Deever 28 April, 2021, 10:56:46 PM
I really rate a lot of Belardinelli's work on Meltdown Man as some of his best work- week in week out there was  a lot of top-of-the-range stuff in there.

Also Colin McNeil's work on Insurrection.

More up to date? Phil Winslade on Lawless.

: Re: Artists at their best
: Woolly 01 May, 2021, 11:11:22 AM
Brian Bolland - Judge Death Lives. The panel where Dredd is striding up the stairs after Fire is incredible!

Henry Flint - Dead Zone. Every page so well directed and packed with detail, and his Dredd has never looked more solid!

Mick McMahon - Gotta be his Slaine work for me. All of it.

John Ridgeway - Absolutely Luke Kirby, very closely followed by the Dead Man. The perfect artist for horror in my view.

Dermot Power - Treasures of Britain. He really nailed it on this one, there's a romantic element to his work here that really elevates the story. He also paints a fantastic Ukko!

Simon Bisley - Horned God book 2. He was, as Alan Grant said, a force of nature! Probably influenced me more than anything did this.

Steve Parkhouse - The Old Straight Track, Luke Kirby. Wasn't a fan when he first took over, but this is perfect stuff! He was the only good thing about Big Dave too.

King Carlos - Everything. Even Helter Skelter. Every page he ever produced is a joy to behold, for so many reasons. Hail to the King x

Jim Baike - Skizz. So much character and emotion in this one, his designs for everyone are timeless!